The U.S. Dept. of Justice is suing the city of St. Anthony for denying a special permit for mosque in 2012.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said St. Anthony Village City Council applied its zoning laws unevenly, and the federal government is seeking an injunction that will, in effect, undo the panel's vote.
"An injustice has been done," Luger told reporters, "And it is my job as the united states attorney to enforce the constitution and protect the civil rights of all members of our community, including Abu Huraira."
A group of Somali immigrants formed a religious group, Abu Huraira Islamic Center, in 2009 in hopes of establishing a worship center in the small suburb that borders northeast Minneapolis.
After years of trying to find a suitable location, Abu Huraira set its sights on buying the old Medtronic building on Old Highway 8 in St. Anthony. The plan was to use the basement as a worship center, while leasing the upper floors out to businesses.
The St. Anthony city staff initially encouraged the group. But, because the land was zoned as light industrial, the group was told a Conditional Use Permit would be required. Abu Huraira applied for the permit in February of 2012, and in June of that year the city council rejected it after a crowded, contentious public meeting.